NASA Podcasts

STS-130: What's Going Up?
02.06.10
 
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NARRATOR:
Typically thought of as a destination, the moon instead will be a passenger of sorts when astronauts take a small lunar rock with them on space shuttle Endeavour's STS-130 mission.

Fragments of a rock Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin plucked from the Sea of Tranquility in 1969 have been encased in a plaque that will be displayed inside the International Space Station.

STS-130 Commander George Zamka talked about some of the trips the rocks have already made.

George Zamka/STS-130 Commander:
These rocks have already done more than a human being can do in a lifetime.

NARRATOR:
Zamka said the moon pieces highlight the goals and promise of exploration.

George Zamka/STS-130 Commander:
And they’ll be there as a reminder to all the astronauts that are up there, what human beings can do and what our challenges are.

NARRATOR:
The moon rock will be joined by another symbol of exploration: A stone pulled from the top of Mount Everest, Earth's highest point.

Former astronaut Scott Parazynski collected the rock during a trek to the top of the Himalayan peak. He was also carrying the small lunar samples when he scaled the mountain.

The geologic samples are destined for the cupola, which is part of Endeavour's payload during the STS-130 mission. The cupola will be joined to the Tranquility module, which itself is a reminder of the first moon landing. The module is named Tranquility in commemoration of the Apollo 11 landing site.

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